From: Andy Evison, St Saviour’s Road, St Leonards
I see the Bexhill Road bus-lanes have entered your correspondence again.
In general I do not think anyone would argue against better public transport services. In Mr Coffee’s letter he states that congestion relieved by the bypass will return. It would seem unlikely that the level of ‘pre-bypass’ congestion would reappear, based on the relative free flow of traffic in both directions since it was opened a couple of years ago.
We now have the various phase one sections of the bus lanes in place for the 98 and 99 services which provide a maximum of five buses per hour in each direction until about 7pm, after that there are a total of three buses up until about 9:30pm. Then, no further service until the next day.
Some of this fleet travel in convoy during the main part of the day. I hope the Campaign for Better Transport can provide evidence of the improvement to these services, specifically between the Ravenside start of the scheme to the Filsham Road traffic lights.
The figures must all be since the bypass opened and both pre- and post-bus lane figures are essential to lend them any credibility.
It appears that ESCC have no intention of permitting cyclists to use the bus lane sections as the signage lacks the appropriate icons often seen in other towns’ schemes.
The signage also lacks any indication that the bus lanes do not operate on a 24-hour basis despite there being no services at all overnight.
Cyclists are therefore forced to mix more closely with a more constricted flow of vehicular traffic, making it almost impossible for drivers to follow Highway Code’s rule 163 relating to overtaking cyclists which states: “Motorists should give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car.”
As a regular cyclist along this road, I can assure from personal experience this does not happen very often, especially when there is traffic in both directions.
Considerable planning consideration must have been given to ensure maximum frustration at the Ravenside end of the scheme.
In the event of an eastbound bus collecting or dropping passengers at the stop just before Bexleigh Road this forces a contraflow as this stop is directly opposite the westbound bus lane section, leaving a single lane to be shared!
In the week leading up to Christmas I noticed two people in hi-vis coats doing some surveying around the A259 /Filsham Road junction. I asked if they were updating the local OS maps.
They said they were surveying for ESCC and thought their work related to more sections of bus lane!
Surely this plan must be stopped until or unless the evidence shows improved journey times for the existing stretch. If the buses are shown to be running to time then there is no need for additional bus lanes along the Harley Shute to Filsham Road stretch. In these cash-strapped times it seems a bizarre, unnecessary and costly job to do.
If ESCC insist that they have money to burn perhaps it would be better spent, subsidising or extending the service hours of the existing 99 and 98 routes.